Saturday, November 21, 2009

Equinox / Bartolo

The Santa Cruz Mountains has a long tradition of sparkling wines; Paul Masson's rose "Oeil de Perdrix" (Eye of the Partridge) won many accolades and he was even granted a licence to continue production "for medicinal purposes" during Prohibition.

Barry Jackson has been making sparkling wine under the Equinox label for 20 years. The wine has traditionally been a 100% Chardonnay "Blanc de Blancs" style, and is kept on the lees for much longer than average; the current release is from the 1997 vintage. He has recently added a second release called "Harmony Cuvee", which includes 29% Pinot Noir. As with previous releases all the fruit comes from the Trout Gulch vineyard, and though no vintage is listed it's from the 2001 vintage.

NV Equinox Harmony Cuvee
Lovely mousse, light straw colour. Nose shows dough, earth and apple. Fresh flavours of green apple backed by minerals and a rich, toasty finish. The addition of Pinot Noir results in a more rounded flavour. Lovely stuff. 92

Recently Barry introduced a sister label, Bartolo, making red wines primarily from the Mann vineyard in Santa Clara Valley.

2007 Cioppino Rosso, Santa Clara Valley
A blend of 61% Syrah 20% Chardonnay and 19% Mourvèdre.
Dark, brooding fruit on the nose follows through onto the palate. Despite being a minority component the gamey Mourvèdre shows well. 89

2006 Syrah, Santa Clara Valley
Fragrant with herbal notes and good black fruit. Smooth and fruity; easy drinking. 88

2006 Merlot, Santa Clara Valley
Smoky with bright fruit. Palate shows ripe fruit and chocolate, with a quickish finish. 88